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Showing posts from February 20, 2011

Michelet's plunge into the crowd

Michelet published his translation of Vico’s New Science, which gave him a key to the meaning of revolution, in 1827, three years before the revolution of 1830. Recall this was the year, as well, that Raphael made his pact with the wild ass’s skin. In his introductory discourse to Vico’s work, Michelet gave his own interpretation of the long cycles that organize Viconian universal history, and in so doing foretold his own work as a historian and mythographer. The great and self-conscious mythographies, like The Sea, or The People, or Woman, or most famously, The Witch, are cast in the heroic mode on the modern scale. Vico, Michelet explains, took it that in the infancy of the world – the world of the Cyclops, the pre-homeric world - a name such as Hercules and the concept of the hero are not completely separated. Vico, in Michelet’s reading, is doing something like what we see in Plato’s Cratylus, where the divine root of the word is a key to the crowd of generalizations to which it

the philosophy of the diary

How do we – this we, this other and me, the writer, this shadowing and secret sharing editorial we! – gather our data about the formation of character under capitalism? What does ‘under capitalism” even mean? One can imagine a computer, being steadily fed data concerning the everyday habits of the population that existed ‘under capitalism” for two hundred to three hundred years, storing it and collating it, tying, a cybernetic Varuna, person to person in the coils of its 0 and 1, from which would emerge, at some point, a hermeneutic, a heuristic, a set of axioms, or maybe simply a surrender to the ceaseless flow of info for its own sake. One can imagine an economist making a model of what the character should be. One can imagine a novelist tracing the events in some fictitious character’s life that are somehow meant to be typical. Or one can keep a diary and make penetrating generalizations that go outward towards the world and inward towards one’s own peculiarities, a mutual articula

the thread

“The first distinction I would make is between two major classes of line, which I shall call threads and traces. By no means all lines fall into either category, but perhaps the majority do, and they will be of most importance for my argument. A thread is a filament of some kind, which may be entangled with other threads or suspended between points in threedimensional space. At a relatively microscopic level threads have surfaces; however, they are not drawn on surfaces.” – Tim Ingold, Lines: a brief history, 41 The God Varuna, for example, has the magical power to tie people at a distance by ties as magic as all sovereignty in these [indo-european] civilizations. Varuna is always omnivoyant, all powerful and a ‘binder’ by that very magic. Indra, himself, ties by the atmosphere that is his laces and his thread. Varuna acts like a binder with his passive reticulation, Indra proceeds by aggressive acts of imprisonment.” – Christian Werckele, “The power of the ephemeral and the network o